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It’s 6:30 on Saturday evening and our cruise on Ventura has begun. Sailaway was at 4:30, and at the current time we are just past Bembridge on the eastern side of the Isle of Wight. Once we pass there we’ll turn to starboard and head down the channel. It’s been a beautiful sunny day, and the sail down Southampton Water was in full sunshine.

We’ve had an easier day today than on other cruises. On previous occasions we have driven from Sheffield to Southampton on the day the cruise started. It takes around four hours – a bit more if you stop or encounter heavy traffic, a bit less if the roads are clear and you drive without stopping – but it’s tiring, and previously we’ve always felt wiped-out well before the end of the day. This time we drove as far as Chieveley services at the M4/A34 junction the evening before, and stayed overnight at the Travelodge there. That drive was certainly tiring but we recovered overnight and it meant that we had already done more than three-quarters of the journey. Today, after a very leisurely start we drove to Southampton during the morning. After spending about three-quarters of an hour at Mayflower Park we moved on to the Ocean Terminal where Ventura was moored. There were already a lot of people there. We joined the back of the queue of cars at about 11:45, and we were out of the car at just about noon. Then we waited for about another 45 minutes until our ‘boarding card’ letter was called inside the terminal before going through registration and security. We were in the Beachhouse restaurant having lunch at 1 o’clock, and were enjoying a glass of wine at the Terrace bar before 2 o’clock. The cabins were declared ‘available’ at 2 o’clock, and we made our way down to ours – C325 – at about 2:30 or so where we found that most of our bags had already arrived. Then followed the usual first afternoon activities: unpacking, discovering again just how small a cruise ship’s

cabin is (although we do like the walk-in hanging area on Ventura), and then the muster drill. Then came sailaway at 4:30.

This is our second cruise on Ventura – both in the same cabin – and we’re looking forward to re-discovering the ship in the days ahead. But we’ve already enjoyed one of her features, the outside promenade. We missed this very much on Solstice last year, and this afternoon we were able to visit both the bow and the stern of Ventura.

Tomorrow and the day after are sea days, which we are looking forward to very much. But first will be our first dinner, at a table for eight people in the Saffron restaurant.

2 Responses to “Ventura 2010 – Embarkation”

  1. Debbie says:

    Hi Tom

    Really just an e mail to say thank goodness for your blogs on the Ventura. We are sailing on her in 2 weeks time from Southampton on the western Med 14 night cruise. Very similar ports of call to yours in 2010.

    Refreshing insight into what to expect on board, as this is our very first cruise and the first time abroad in three years- needless to say after reading some of the ‘reviews’ on this ship I was starting to think we had we made a mistake!!!… especially as this was a real treat for us after an extremely difficult three years and my husband being ill also during that time.

    Wonder if you can clarify something for me? are there opportunities to breakfast and lunch in an outside seating area – al fresco as such.

    Once again thanks for the info, we are on a table of 8 too, do we get allocated to which restaurant on arrival, as I understand there are 2 main dining rooms?

    Thanks for you blogs once again an I hope you dont mind all the questions.

    • tomtotley says:

      Debbie

      I’m glad you found the blog useful.

      OK, some answers:-
      a) al fresco dining. Not as such, I’m afraid. However, there some things you can do. We often used to take an end-of-breakfast cup of tea out on the Terrace at the back of the Beach House buffet. Alternatively you can take trays of food (breakfast & lunchtime) from the Waterside buffet into seats down the sides of the Beachcomber pool area. Sometimes this is enclosed (the skydome is shut), other times it will be open. Then at lunchtime you can grab burgers and pizza (IIRC) from Frankies Grill near the Laguna pool and probably take them anywhere on the open decks. If you’re in a balcony cabin you can order room service and eat your breakfast or lunch on your balcony. (You won’t find everything that’s available in the buffets or restaurants on the room service menu, however.) Finally, there’s an open-air area at the back of the White Room, if you want a really grand lunch. (I think the White Room is open at lunchtimes, but I might be wrong about that.)

      b) restaurant allocation: I take it you’re doing Club Dining (i.e. traditional)? Assuming you are, you’ll find a card (which may or may not be in an envelope) in your cabin when you get into it – it’ll be on the table or possibly on the bed. That will tell you which restaurant and which table you’ve been assigned to. When you go for dinner on the first evening, you’ll find that there will be squadrons of waiters by the door waiting to show you to your table. On subsequent nights you’ll have to find your own way to it! I imagine that passengers doing Freedom Dining get an equivalent card telling them which restaurant is set up for that, and its opening times.

      I hope you enjoy your cruise. We’ve done two on Ventura and will be on her again in late May, and we had no hesitation in booking for this year. We think she’s a fine ship.

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